Northeast Belgium

Balancing the massive bulk of St-Romboutskathedraal across Mechelen's splendid Grote Markt is the contrastingly poetic stadhuis in all its devil-may-care stone flamboyance. Its architectural inventiveness stems from the fact that it's really three different buildings knocked together: a never-finished medieval belfry flanked by a 14th-century cloth hall and a 1911 neo-Gothic council hall built to a long-shelved 16th-century design.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Northeast Belgium attractions

1. Schepenhuis

0.08 MILES

The Schepenhuis is a small castle fantasy dating back to 1288. It became the council parliament for the Burgundian Netherlands from 1473.

2. St-Romboutskathedraal

0.13 MILES

This soaring, Gothic-vaulted cathedral features a 1723 monumental pulpit, a 1630 Van Dyck crucifixion scene in the south transept, and dozens more fine…

3. Op-Sinjoorke Statue

0.17 MILES

Landing on his back with limbs akimbo, the giant yellow character that you see in the grassy contoured space north of St-Romboutskathedraal is Op…

4. St-Janskerk

0.19 MILES

Built in white sandstone, the 15th-century Gothic church of the 'two Johns' (Baptist and Evangelist) looks fairly unremarkable from the outside. However,…

5. St-Petrus & Pauluskerk

0.19 MILES

Dating from 1677, this fine church has a very spacious feel, with two rows of whitewashed Corinthian columns and an elegant altarpiece of pale grey marble…

6. Hof van Busleyden

0.22 MILES

After years of preparation, Mechelen's historical museum should have reopened by the time you read this, offering state-of-the-art interactive exhibits…

7. Het Zotte Kunstkabinet

0.22 MILES

This eccentric little shop-museum is great if you can catch it open, and has some fun with the 'crazy' hell scenes and frolicking odd folk of 16th-century…

8. Mechelen Gerechtsgebouw

0.24 MILES

The city’s step-gabled courthouse was once Margaret of Austria's palace (from 1506). Despite many subsequent alterations, it maintains a gorgeous…